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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    853 steel vs. 520 steel

    What is the real difference between these two?

    I did some research and saw that 853 steel has a higher tensile strength but, what does that mean to me as a biker? Is 853 just less likely to break?

    Or, is 853 stiffer which translates into a bike that handles better?

    853 frames seem to be more expensive so I'm wondering of there is a tangible difference between the two. Is the difference really just negligible and only the most discerning riders could notice a difference between the two?

    Any advice is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Two Wheel Offroad
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    It's not the materials, it's how they put it together. Both are Renolds 520 is older and heavier and most builders are using 853 or true temper. Some custom houses would listed the tubeset and would mix them to create a ride to fit your need, they don't usually tell you what combo they used. My Seven Sola Steel rides great and made from different tube set, Seven did not tell me which ones they used.

    If you only ride one when you get to another on a longer ride you can tell, but the difference beside weight would not be in-your-face.

  3. #3
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    The higher tensile strength enables thinner tubes to be used. Thus it is lighter, more responsive(steel is real kind of thing).

  4. #4
    Former Bike Wrench
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    853 is a heat treated alloy steel that actually gains strength where it is heated. This allows for thinner walls and shorter butts near the welds. 853 is generally used in the frames main tubes while a heat treated cro-moly steel (like 725) is used in the stays. Though Niner claims to use 853 in the stays as well. All things being equal, a 853 frame will be lighter and stronger than a standard cro-moly frame.

    520 is a Taiwan made Cro-Moly steel that is not heat treated but made to Reynolds standards (same as their 525 tubing). It will use thicker walls and butts as the tubing will lose strength at the welds. 520 makes a good riding frame, but is will weigh more (often a pound or more) than an equivalent 853 frame.

  5. #5
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    Wow, thanks. This is extremely helpful. I guess I should go with an 853 steel based frame. Seems to be the right decision for the long run...spend the few extra bucks now.

  6. #6
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    Too bad it's more than just a couple of bucks. 853 seems to be double the price if not more
    He who dares....wins!

  7. #7
    Former Bike Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by t135 View Post
    Wow, thanks. This is extremely helpful. I guess I should go with an 853 steel based frame. Seems to be the right decision for the long run...spend the few extra bucks now.
    An 853 frame will be a significant increase in price over a 520 frame, for good reason. But don't discount other steel as well. A good heat treated Cro-Mo such as Reynolds 725 makes a very strong frame that will be lighter than standard Cro-Mo but very affordable. Also look at other companies, True Temper is a US company that makes very good bicycle frame tubing. Their OX Platinum is every bit as good as 853 while their Versus HT is right on par with 725. Another very good heat treated Cro-Mo is Tange Prestige.

  8. #8
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    number

    number 6 ahhhhhhhhhhh

  9. #9
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    It is a big difference in price. I think 853 is the way to fo

  10. #10
    BonsaiMTB
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    Could really use your help.

    In the process of buying a Steel 27.5 Plus MTB. I've narrowed it down to two companies...and leaning toward a Jamis Dragon Slayer, Sport. The Sport has a Reynolds 520 Frame. I've owned several Steel bikes since the Mid 1990's and loved them all. However, the best or most forgiving Steel frame I've ever owned was a Cove Mountain Bike that was built with a Columbus Foco Tubing and it will go down as my all time favorite Tubing! Anway, do you think I'll be disappointed with the Reynolds 520? Plan on this being my last MTB purchase ever?...but well see? Any suggestions or into that would help me decide would be appreciated. Thank you.

  11. #11
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    Steel type is of course a big part of how it rides, but it's not the only factor. You could build two bikes out of 853, or 520, or 4130 CrMo, even with the same geo, but changes in the way it's drawn, the thickness of the butts, inclusion of buttresses or brazed on bracing, even how the tube bends (my Jabberwocky's DT runs almost parallel to the TT for like 2 inches before angling to the BB) will have an effect on ride.

    Saying "it's made of XXX, it will ride better than YYY leaves too many variables unless you have a design on paper, a jig built and the only thing left is the steel composition.
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Yeah, why not?

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